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Adobe Illustrator 10
Using the Flattening Preview Palette
About ﬂattening artwork
When artwork contains transparency, Adobe® Illustrator® performs a process called ﬂattening before printing or saving the artwork. During ﬂattening, Illustrator looks for areas where transparent objects overlap other objects and isolates these areas by dividing the artwork into components. Illustrator then analyzes each component to determine if the artwork can be represented using vector data or if the artwork must be rasterized. For most artwork, the number of components and the time required to compute them is reasonable, but complex artwork may result in thousands of components, some of which are smaller than a pixel. As a result, ﬂattening complex artwork may take considerable time and resources. The Flattening Preview palette lets you specify ﬂattener options and preview the expected results. This feedback increases the predictability of the ﬂattening process, simpliﬁes the print workﬂow, and allows for a more targeted control over the ﬂattening parameters. You can ﬁnd more information on printing and ﬂattening artwork with transparency in the following places:
• The Printing and Exporting Files from Adobe Illustrator 10 booklet, included with the Illustrator application. • The Printing and Exporting Artwork white paper, included on the Illustrator CD-ROM and also available for
download at www.adobe.com/products/illustrator.
• The Adobe Illustrator User to User forum, a public forum which offers a wealth of tips and answers to frequently-
asked questions, found at www.adobe.com/support/forums.
• The Achieving Reliable Print Output with Transparency white paper, available for download at www.adobe.com.
Installing the Flattening Preview palette
You must install the Flattening Preview plug-in before you can display the Flattening Preview palette in Illustrator.
To install the Flattening Preview palette:
Drag a copy of the Flattening Preview plug-in, located in the Illustrator 10/Utilities/Flattening Preview folder, into the Illustrator 10/Plug-ins folder.
Specifying ﬂattening options
Flattening options allow you to control the parameters that Illustrator uses during the ﬂattening process. Keep in mind that choosing whether and how aggressively to rasterize artwork depends on your intent (fast proof vs. high-quality print), as well as the time and computing resources that are available. For some print jobs, it may be better to rasterize very complex areas in the document rather than trying to preserve them in vector form. Note: If the artwork does not contain transparency, the document will not be ﬂattened and the ﬂattening settings are not relevant. Use the Transparent Objects preview option to determine if artwork contains transparency. (See “Previewing ﬂattened artwork” on page 3.)
Flattening Preview ReadMe
In addition. and choose Transparency from the pop-up menu at the top of the dialog box. Selecting this option. You may achieve better results by manually converting the affected strokes to outlines in Illustrator. if small fonts or ﬁne objects will be rasterized or if the output is a high quality print. For example. When the slider is in the left position (0). the entire document will be rasterized. 3 Specify a rasterization resolution that is used to rasterize complex areas (as determined by the Raster/Vector slider). In this position. The availability of options depends on the artwork’s content and the position of the Raster/Vector slider: • Select Convert All Text to Outlines if the artwork contains elements that will cause portions of text to be converted to outlines. but it is an important parameter of the ﬂattening process. Selecting this option. causes small fonts to appear noticeably thicker (especially when printed on lower-end printing systems). therefore the four ﬂattening checkboxes are disabled. The Convert All Strokes to Outlines option ensures that the width of all strokes in the artwork stays consistent. which take signiﬁcant time to compute and can cause errors when printing. no areas of the artwork are rasterized for performance reasons. 2 Drag the Raster/Vector slider or enter a value to specify the degree of rasterization in complex areas of the artwork.) The intermediate positions on the slider result in rasterizing areas that are complex and preserving simple ones in vector form. selecting this option may result in extremely complex clipping paths. (Some rasterization may still occur if there is no other way of representing the artwork in PostScript®. transparent or not. causes thin strokes to appear slightly thicker (especially when printed on lower-end printing systems). a single transparent pattern may be preserved intact. text that is used as a clipping path and text that has a pattern ﬁll or stroke is converted to outlines during ﬂattening. however. will be rasterized. However. portions of strokes that overlap transparent artwork are converted to outlines during ﬂattening. The Convert All Text to Outlines option ensures that the width of all text in the artwork stays consistent. while portions of overlapping patterns may be rasterized. • Select Convert All Strokes to Outlines if the artwork contains elements that will cause portions of strokes to be converted to outlines. Using very high values is not recommended because it can degrade performance and increase spool size without noticeable quality improvement. The right position (100) on the slider is recommended for the highest-quality results. 4 Set additional ﬂattening options. This option reduces stitching artifacts that result when part of an object is rasterized while another part of the object remains in vector form (as determined by the Raster/Vector slider). therefore the Rasterization Resolution and the Clip Complex Regions options are disabled. For example. no rasterization occurs for performance reasons. When the slider is at the leftmost position. For example.ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR 10 2 Using the Flattening Preview Palette To specify ﬂattening options: 1 Do one of the following: • Choose Window > Flattening Preview. However. • Select Clip Complex Regions to ensure that the boundaries between vector artwork and rasterized artwork fall along object paths. it changes the appearance of strokes and may signiﬁcantly degrade ﬂattening performance. however. all objects. You may achieve better results by manually converting the affected text to outlines in Illustrator. The default value of 300ppi is usually appropriate. it may make small fonts less readable and signiﬁcantly degrade ﬂattening performance. Changing the rasterization resolution has no effect on the ﬂattening preview. higher values (600ppi or more) are necessary. • Choose File > Document Setup. Note: When the ﬂattening slider is at the rightmost position. Flattening Preview ReadMe . In addition.
These events take longer to compute and are available only when Detailed Preview is selected. and blending modes as they will appear when output. You can use this information to adjust the ﬂattening options. Previewing ﬂattened artwork The preview options in the Flattening Preview palette allow you to preview where certain events occur in the ﬂattened artwork. Deselect Preserve Overprints When Possible to simulate the appearance of overprinting (ﬂatten the overprint) for all objects. EPS10 Does ﬁle have transparency? Preserve all overprints Diagram of how Illustrator handles overprinted objects during ﬂattening. Note: The Flattening Preview palette is not intended for precise previewing of spot colors. choose Window > Flattening Preview to display it. For Composite output. To preview ﬂattened artwork: 1 If the Flattening Preview palette is not showing. regardless of whether or not you preview the ﬂattened artwork. Is “Ignore Overprinting in Composite Output” checked? COMPOSITE PRINTING Is “Preserve Overprints When Possible” checked? YE NO Ignore all nts N Y e all nts YES NO e some. and blending modes. Deselect Ignore Overprinting in Composite Output to Ignore overprint instructions for all objects. Flattening Preview ReadMe . Use Overprint Preview mode in Illustrator to preview spot colors. overprints. but preserve native overprint instructions for objects not involved in transparency. Note: Change you make to the ﬂattening settings are applied to the document. This option makes sense when printing to a separations printer. Preserve some overprints PRINTING OR SAVE AS EPS9. overprints. select Ignore Overprinting in Composite Output to simulate the appearance of overprinting (ﬂatten the overprint) for all objects. 2 Choose a preview mode from the palette menu: • Quick Preview to compute the quickest preview.) For EPS output and Legacy output.ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR 10 3 Using the Flattening Preview Palette • Select an overprint option based on the preview context. • Detailed Preview if you want to preview ﬂattening for outlined text and all rasterized regions. select Preserve Overprints When Possible to simulate overprinting for objects involved in transparency. in which case simulated or native overprinting will end up producing the same appearance. (See “Previewing ﬂattened artwork” on page 3.
All text is converted to outlines in this preview context. (See “Specifying ﬂattening options” on page 1. • Outlined Strokes to preview all strokes that will be outlined because they are involved in transparency or because the Convert All Strokes to Outlines option is selected. • Affected Linked EPS Files to preview all linked EPS ﬁles that are affected by transparency. visible layers are shown in the preview. Note: In the ﬁnal output. you can use this option to preview how artwork will be ﬂattened when it is printed to separations. Flattening Preview ReadMe . portions of them may get rasterized. In addition. styles and effects may contain transparency. expand the linked ﬁles.) • Transparent Objects to preview the objects that are sources of transparency. (See “Specifying ﬂattening options” on page 1. Note: Illustrator uses the Gradient Mesh resolution (in the Document Setup dialog box) to rasterize regions where gradients. and so on. Rasters of this kind are clipped around objects and are usually not a source of stitching or quality problems. However. Keep in mind that the boundary of the previewed area has a higher probability of producing stitching problems (depending on the print driver settings and the rasterization resolution). Note: The Flattening Preview palette cannot display how artwork will look when printed on a non-PostScript printers. (See “Specifying ﬂattening options” on page 1. • Expanded Patterns to preview all patterns that will be expanded because they are involved in transparency. such as transparent objects. outlined strokes and text may appear slightly different than native ones. meshes. or when you choose the Object > Flatten Transparency command. or EPS 8 format. The previewed objects will be affected by the ﬂattening process—their strokes or patterns will be expanded. To prevent this. PDF 1. the Flattening Preview palette does not display this altered appearance. This option is available only when Detailed Preview is selected in the palette menu. Select the Clip Complex Regions option to minimize stitching problems. especially very thin strokes and very small text. the intersection of two transparent gradients will always be rasterized. under all other objects. the preview mode. even when the Raster/Vector slider is at the right (100) position. See Illustrator online Help for more information on setting the Gradient Mesh resolution. In most cases. • Preview for Composite Output to preview the ﬂattening that will occur when you print the artwork on a composite printer. including transparent objects and objects that are overlapped by transparent objects. or gradients and meshes overlap. and overprinted objects may be treated as sources of transparency if they are involved in transparency or if the overprint needs to be ﬂattened. objects with blending modes. Only printable. • All Rasterized Regions to preview objects and intersections of objects that will be rasterized because there is no other way of representing them in PostScript. the ﬂattening settings.ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR 10 4 Using the Flattening Preview Palette 3 Choose a preview context from the palette menu: • Preview for EPS Output to preview the ﬂattening that will occur when you save the artwork to EPS format.) This option is available only when Detailed Preview is selected in the palette menu.) • Outlined Text to preview all text that will be outlined because it is involved in transparency or because the Convert All Text to Outlines option is selected. and the preview context: • Rasterized Complex Regions to preview the areas that will be rasterized for performance reasons (as determined by the Raster/Vector slider). Such ﬁles will be printed ﬁrst. For example. • All Affected Objects to preview all objects that are involved in transparency. Overprint behavior is controlled by the Ignore Overprinting in Composite Output option. The availability of options depends on the content of the artwork. • Preview for Legacy Output to preview the ﬂattening that will occur when you save the artwork to Illustrator 8 format. regardless of the Separate option in the Separation Setup dialog box.3 format. 4 Select Preview options. and opacity masks.
registered in the United States and other countries.. 6 To magnify the preview.ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR 10 5 Using the Flattening Preview Palette 5 Click the Refresh button. Inc. . click in the preview area. hold down the space bar and drag in the preview area. the Adobe logo. In addition. Adobe. The areas of the artwork where selected events occur are highlighted in color. All rights reserved. and PostScript are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Windows is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Illustrator. Note: The preview does not show how rasterized areas will appear at the speciﬁed rasterization resolution (no matter how much you magnify the preview). the preview does not show images that don't get resampled during ﬂattening (such as opaque images that do not interact with transparent objects). ©2001 Adobe Systems Incorporated. Macintosh is a trademark of Apple Computer. while the rest of the artwork appears in grayscale. To pan the preview.
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